The first item in this list is actually most important:
1) Actually plan to have a “First Draft” and a “Final Draft”
If high school English teachers get anything right, it’s this.
We live in a strange world, one where legitimate news outlets claim a person is dead before they are actually dead, and everyone forgets about it weeks later.
You can go a long way to differentiating yourself as a writer simply by doing more than one draft.
2) Cut out the garbage words
In general — use fewer words.
“That” is one of the more egregious articles which sneaks into prose and adds fat. Also consider cutting phrases like “in my opinion” or “I believe” (of course it is and of course you do, otherwise why would you be writing it?).
3) Write the post, then write the headline, then rewrite the post
Steven Pressfield has the best quote on this:
“First write the book.
Then, cut every single line which is not on theme.”
If you are an intuitive writer like me (meaning you start writing without an end in mind), you have no idea what your “theme” is until you are looking at a 1,000 word draft.
I cut plenty of drafts IN HALF before actually publishing them because most of the article wasn’t on theme.
(Don’t cry for me, though. Those cut words almost always serve as primer for another post)
Thanks, Anisha Corrie for prompting this quick brain dump.